CHICAGO — The highly contagious B2 subvariant has caused a slight rise in Chicago’s Covid cases.

But Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Dr. Allison Arwady said the city appears to have avoided another surge.

At a news conference Thursday, Arwady said she is not too alarmed by the covid numbers right now and currently, cases are low. But she still encourages people to get vaccinated to keep themselves safe from the virus.

“Chicago’s current COVID 19 community level remains low. That is the most important piece of information I want you to hear,” she said. “We are seeing low levels of severe illness. There is not a requirement to have masks. There are not even recommendations to to have masks.  … We have not stopped paying attention to Covid. We continue to see cases but overall, the outbreak remains in good control.”

The number of cases are up compared to last week.

Cases of COVID-19 in Chicago as of Wednesday have increased 28% over the prior week, according to the city’s COVID Dashboard.

But the number of hospilizations are down.

Arwady said the most important thing is to be vaccinated to help prevent severe illness. She said the Black community is still lagging behind in vaccinations.

“About 62% of Black/non LatinX Chicagoans have had that first dose of vaccine and that worries me because we seen Covid more disproportionately, especially the bad outcomes, landing on Black Chicagoans.”

Arwady strongly suggests all Chicagoans get free at home Covid tests at